Whether you’ve been involved in an automobile accident or some other personal injury, you can expect medical bills. When most people think about the costs of an injury, they almost always consider the medical angle. It’s true that hospital bills, rehabilitation, follow-up treatments, prescription drugs, and more can be significant. But you can’t overlook how an injury could affect your livelihood as well. Knowledgeable Smyrna, GA injury attorneys are essential to making sure these matters don’t overwhelm you.
Lost wages and reduced earning capacity are two major consequences you could experience after an injury or accident. If you are hospitalized for a significant period of time, you won’t be able to work. The same is true if you need to undergo rehabilitation. But having to see a specialist and return for additional medical appointments will also take time away from your job.
If you were to lose your job, the effects could be catastrophic. However, if you are an hourly worker, losing even some time from work can pose problems. You may come up short on the money you need to pay the rent or mortgage, grocery bills, and more. It’s difficult to foresee all of the effects of losing time from work. For those Americans who are living paycheck to paycheck, however, it’s not so difficult to guess what it can do.
The first thing you should do after getting the medical attention you need is contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Georgia is an at-will employment state. That means an employer may generally terminate your employment for any reason. Of course, there are some protections for workers with employment contracts and under state and federal law. One federal law that may apply to you is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
An employee who qualifies under the FMLA can receive unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks without jeopardizing their job. Most people are aware of the FMLA’s protections for mothers who have recently given birth. But the FMLA can also give time off to someone with a serious health condition. This could include an individual recovering from an accident or other injury. Ask a Georgia personal injury lawyer if you qualify for FMLA protection.
After recovering from your injuries under FMLA protection, your employer must offer you the same or a comparable job. A comparable job would mean similar pay and prospects of advancement. But your employer can also insist on some form of proof or a statement regarding your injury.
The FMLA may protect your ability to return to work after you’ve recovered. However, the law does not obligate your employer to provide paid leave while you are out. That’s where lost wages come in. You can pursue the defendant in your personal injury or accident case for the money you lost from work. In addition to proving all elements of negligence, you need to substantiate your claim for lost past and future earnings.
A similar claim is for lost earning capacity. This refers to the decrease in your work productivity due to the injuries you sustained. Many employees cannot work at the same level as before an accident, especially if their jobs involve physical labor. Lost earning capacity may also cover reduced cognitive ability.
You should have a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who understands lost wages and lost earning capacity. Calculating these damages may not be straightforward. Lost wages must take into account approximately how much time in the future the victim will be unable to work. Decreased earning capacity is even more challenging. You’ll need to consider how much compensation is reasonable for a significant loss of earning power in the future. These damages may require input from expert witnesses to ensure the damages you request are reasonable.
Taking on a personal injury or accident case is difficult. It’s one thing to establish that the defendant was negligent. You also need to calculate a reasonable amount of damages that will fairly compensate you for your injuries. These tasks require the experience that Smyrna, GA injury attorneys can provide. That’s where we come in. Turn to our local Smyrna personal injury law office today to discuss your case.